The seed of success begin to grow when Dylan Massa attended the National FFA Convention as a freshman and watched the awarding of the American Star Farmer. Dylan lives just outside Lamar, Mo., and is a member of the Liberal FFA Chapter, where his advisors were the late Ron Dickens and Allie Runnels. Dylan has been selected as one of the four 2015 American Star Farmer Finalists, among thousands of American FFA Degree recipients. The American Star Farmer award is the highest recognition in the nation for young farmers to achieve.
Patti Black’s enthusiasm over her LaMancha and Sable dairy goats that she raises with her 15-year-old son, Travis, is contagious. “LaManchas are the only breed of goat that is native to America,” she explained. “They are quiet, gentle, docile, very even-tempered animals, which makes them good for someone like me, who has close neighbors.”
On a well-maintained farm near Crane, Mo., Jim and Anne Jones care for a select herd of Red and Black Angus cattle, along with some mixed breed commercial cattle. "This place was pretty rough when we bought it five years ago," Jim said. "We’ve built every building, corral and fence on the place, cleared the brush from the fence rows and replaced the native grasses with modern grazing grasses," Jim said.
Most people have seen uprooted trees; whether the result of a bulldozer or a spring storm, it is not an uncommon sight. When a tree is uprooted, we miss the shade or the scenery, but we also soon learn that the missing tree leaves a hole. No matter how a landowner tries to fill in the hole, it is always noticeable for years afterward. The same is true when a member of the community passes away.
"Ten years ago, it started as a joke,” Katie Stewart, vice president of the Southwest Missouri Goat Producers Association, explained how her family’s involvement with Boer goats began. “Bob (Katie’s husband) brought home three baby goats from the sale barn for our children. He called them 'weed eaters' and from there…” she waved a hand towards the lot full of 40 South African goats known for their meat production.
Myron Bahm has discovered the biggest challenge to running a successful purebred operation is, as he put it, “Marketing your cattle and getting them out there for people to see.” But, he is meeting that challenge, and is proud of the fact that he has had repeat customers, always a compliment to any business.